Nice attack flowers
Memorials to the victims adorn the length of the promenade Pascal Rossignol/Reuters

The identity of a hero who courageously tried to stop the Nice attacker in his tracks has been revealed. The 26-year-old, named as Gwenaël Leriche, climbed into the 19-tonne lorry driven by killer Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel in a desperate bid to stop him as he ploughed the vehicle into a crowd of Bastille day revellers.

Gwenaël, who works as a delivery man, said he chased the vehicle down the promenade and was able to climb into the driver's cabin as it slowed down when a second man grabbed the door.

Recounting the incident he told French newspaper Nice Matin: "The area behind the truck was a field of dead people, blood and flesh. I had to step over corpses to keep trying to get to him.

"It was carnage. He then accelerated again, and got ahead of me. I then saw the extent of the damage. I wondered in a split second what I could do. But it was too late, I had to catch up with him".

He said he tried to punch Bouhlel, but the attacker who had a gun began firing shots out of the window The Sun reported. Law enforcement officials then opened fire, shooting the driver through the windscreen in a hail of bullets.

Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel
Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel killed 84 people and left hundreds injured after he drove a lorry into a crowd of Bastille day revellersHandout

Police say he was firing at them too and eyewitnesses described seeing the driver "zigzagging" down the street in order to cause as many deaths as possible.

More information has emerged about Bouhlel since the attack on 14 July that left 84 people –including 10 children – dead and dozens more injured.

He reportedly took a smiling selfie from the promenade before executing his murderous plan to bring terror to the streets of Nice.

Police believe he had spent the two days prior to the attack driving up and down the Promenade des Anglais in a bid to locate where he might inflict the greatest injury. Footage from security cameras revealed that on 12 and 13 July, Bouhlel drove his rented truck to what would become the scene of the attack, apparently to survey the area, according to broadcaster Europe 1.

His Uncle, Sadok Bouhlel, said the killer had been indoctrinated by the Islamic State (Isis) two weeks ago, following the collapse of his marriage.

A cousin of Bouhlel's wife named as Walid Hamou said: "Bouhlel was not religious. He did not go to the mosque, he did not pray, he did not observe Ramadan. He drank alcohol, ate pork and took drugs. "This is all forbidden under Islam. He was not a Muslim, he was a s***. He beat his wife, my cousin, he was a nasty piece of work."

Days after the attack, the Promenade des Anglais is adorned with makeshift memorials and flowers placed at the blood-stained areas by the beachfront where people died.

In contrast, the area when Bouhlel died has become a site of collective hate, as people pile stones, cigarette butts and rubbish on the spot where he was gunned down by police. The words "assassin" and "coward" were written on the ground.

The site was started by an elderly woman called Cecilia, who told the Mail Online that she began the memorial of hate after someone thought the bloodstain on the ground was that of another innocent victim.

"Someone put a rose there. I couldn't explain to them – they were Albanian.So I went and got a piece of paper and wrote assassin.

"I am angry. I am very revolted," she added. "I don't understand how this could have happened in Nice. It is one of the best tourist symbols of France. And they broke it."

"'I spat for the children," said Marie-Helene Roubat. "I feel such hate. We will never forget."

Another woman poured a bottle of urine on the mounting pile of rubbish, winning applause from a crowd of mourners. Eight people have been taken into custody in connection with the attack as an investigation into the Bastille Day massacre continues.